Packard Hill Covered Bridge

Packard Hill Covered Bridge, Lebanon, New Hampshire

I had arrived in Hanover, New Hampshire to pay my respects to one of my favorite short story authors, Corey Ford. As I got back in the vehicle my mother pointed out there was a covered bridge not too far away that looked like it had a place where we could get out and stretch. With that in mind, we headed southward. Note: more about Corey Ford can be found here: Corey Ford.

We passed through Lebanon and headed southeast out of town on Bank Street Extension. Soon the parking area came into view. Passing the covered bridge, I pulled into the lot. Stepping out of the vehicle, I studied my surroundings.

The parking area is part of the Baker’s Crossing Conservation Area. Neaby information plaques provide some information about the location. This area was created in 2003 and features an easy trail on the floodplains of the Mascoma River and the Packard Hill Covered Bridge.

After reading the information on the plaques, I carefully walked along the road to visit the covered bridge. Note: I’m not sure what traffic on the bridge normally is, but on the day of my visit it was a busy place.

The Packard Hill Covered Bridge is located on Riverside Drive near the intersection with Bank Street Extension and Hardy Hill Road. The bridge spanning the Mascoma River is not as old as many of the covered bridges I’ve visited, but the beauty of the spot was ideal for photography.

The first bridge to span the river at this location was an open-sided bridge that was erected by Ichabod Packard. The bridge was built to connect his house on the north bank of the Mascoma River with his mill on the southern bank.

Here’s where the history of the bridge at this crossing becomes murky. In 1804 the bridge was replaced. This new bridge may have been covered, but it is not clear. It appears this bridge was erected with a queen-post design. Also, the bridge may have been replaced again at some point after 1804 and before 1878.

In 1878, the bridge was replaced with a bridge that was definitely covered. This bridge was erected using a Howe Truss design. Note: In the pictures I’ve found of this covered bridge, it appears the bridge may have also had an inverted arch for support This means the support arch, rather than starting and ending on the floor, started and ended on the bridge’s ceiling. I’ve found one place that mentions a “hanging arch,” which could be another name for an inverted arch.

This bridge was replaced in 1952 with a non-covered Bailey Bridge. In 1991 this bridge would be replaced again – this time with the current covered bridge. Featuring a Howe Truss design, the Packard Hill Covered Bridge is a single span with a length of seventy-six feet. On the upper side of the bridge, there is a covered walkway.

I crossed over the Mascoma River to take some pictures from that side of the river before crossing back over to the parking area. After taking a couple more pictures of the bridge, I set out to find some of the other covered bridges which beautify the New England landscape.

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